A 30-acre slash pile burn west of Philomath attracted the attention of motorists and nearby residents Wednesday and Thursday. But despite the visual of fire glow seen in the distance and the presence of smoke, officials with the Oregon Department of Forestry office said the controlled burn has gone as planned.
"It was permitted, controlled and was never out of control and doing exactly what we want it to do," Ted Erdmann, assistant district forester, said Thursday afternoon.
The burn's appearance did create some concern from a few folks in the area.
"It was the glow from the fire and also it was close enough to the highway that they could see fire through the trees and they thought the trees were on fire," Erdmann said.
ODF issued a permit to Starker Forests on this particular operation. The fires were ignited Wednesday afternoon and Erdmann said it can be expected that they will smolder for a day or two and then incoming rain should arrive to extinguish them for good.
Erdmann said there are two issues considered when handing out a permit for a slash pile burn.
"One is fire danger — once fire danger is abated from a weather standpoint, fuel moistures come up and there's enough rain on the ground," Erdmann said. "That's when we typically allow pile slash burning to occur — when there's little to no risk of spreading, that's one thing. The other thing is air quality, looking at days that are not stagnant and the smoke will dissipate and will not impact populations or communities."
The burn is just one of many that have occurred or are planned on regional forest lands.
"Toward the end of October, we started doing slash burning," Erdmann said. "There have been some gaps in between the first week and the third week of November and then once the rains came back, we started letting people burn again. Almost every day, someone is burning."